The Not-So-Secret Diary of an OverEater

My Battle to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food


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Whatever happened to Lazy Liz?

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Me with Ian at Kira’s 18th birthday party March 2016

*** Spoiler alert ***

She’s gone and Lean Liz is here, and here to stay!

I should probably start at the beginning.  The first few months of 2016 were tough ones as far as my health and fitness was concerned.  I was trying so hard to be healthy and keep the eating under control but I was regularly defeated.  I ended up feeling low and despondent.  I hated my body, I hated myself for being so weak and I really didn’t believe I could actually do anything about it.

I’d lose a pound or two, then they would creep back and bring some friends with them.

Daily I would lose the battle with food and end up eating and eating.

Then I heard about something called Level 10 which is basically a 90-day challenge to get to your personal Level 10, in other words the best you you can be.  It cost £10 to enter and included three fitness classes per week.  This was being set up by a friend of mine and the classes were being held in Haywards Heath and Crawley.  At first I thought it sounded too good to be true.  I knew that this friend was a Herbalife distributor so thought perhaps it came with the caveat that you have to buy the products.  He assured me this was not the case, so Ian and I decided to join in.  What did we have to lose?  We couldn’t afford gym classes or boot camp any more and this seemed a great opportunity.

It was almost 90 days to the day when we would go on our Mexican holiday of a lifetime so I thought, “Right, come on Liz, 90 days, just three months, that’s more than 30 exercise classes, you can be good for that long, you have the motivation of the holiday, you can do it!”

We signed up, duly had our “before” photos taken and I started (again) trying to be good.  I even printed out photos of our holiday destination and stuck them all over the food cupboards and fridge to incentivise myself.  And I did it; I was good for three whole weeks and guess what – I lost, drumroll please, a whole pound.  What?? Three weeks of “deprivation”, just for one measly pound???  I was not impressed, not impressed at all.  What was the point of suffering that much just for one pound?  Yes I know, the slower you lose it the better/healthier, and yes I know, muscle weighs more than fat but ONE POUND??  Urgh!  I was back at square one, despondent and feeling a failure.

Others on the challenge were using Herbalife and I could see their results.   I was Mrs Sceptical, and I mean totally sceptical.  I did not believe in meal replacements.  I mean, they were higher calories than a salad (but they have all the nutrients you need and the correct balance of slow release proteins and carbs to keep you feeling fuller for longer).   They had additives I didn’t like (actually they don’t).  They tasted horrible (actually they’re really yummy now I make them up properly).  They couldn’t be good for you (they totally are).  I was also desperate. At this point there was only a couple of months to the holiday.  I asked my friend about a million questions about Herbalife.  I almost tired him out with questions but luckily he likes to talk ( 😉 ) so was happy to answer them all.

I decided to beg, borrow or steal the money to use the products for two months and had my first wellness evaluation.  This involves talking about goals but also involves getting on some special scales which look at your body composition – in other words, what’s going on inside as well as the overall weight.  The scales can also tell you your metabolic age.  This is how old you are on the inside.  What a shock: it told me I was 57!!  (I’m only 46 and in fact I was only 45 then!)

I told my friend, now my coach, that I wanted the fastest results, so he set me up with the gold programme, which I have been on since.  I love the products because they’re so easy.  Each morning I make up my breakfast and lunch shakes.  I have a multi-vitamin too (some vitamins just taste disgusting so they can’t put them all in the shakes or no one would want to eat them!) and their special fibre and herb tablets which help in the downstairs department if you get my drift.  I also have a cup of Herbalife tea twice a day.  My evening meal is just whatever the rest of the family are eating.  I try to make it healthy but don’t have to panic too much.

I am going to 24FIT (those free classes) three times a week, running mid-week and also doing parkrun weekly so it’s not just all about what I’m eating.

I know, you’re all dying to know my new figures.  (If you’re reading my blog history, such as it is, I had put on quite a bit of weight since weighing in on 1st January this year.)

I have lost 23 lbs!!  That’s 10kgs!!  When I picked up two 5kg hand weights the other day I was like, “woah, my knees must be rejoicing, this is heavy!”

I have lost 5″ off my waist circumference, and adding up all the measurements I take, I have lost a total of 21.25″!

12th-august-2016

Me now!

I am also using some of the Herbalife sports products and as a result my parkrun time has come down from around 33:30-34 minutes, to my new personal best, set this week, of 29:39!!  I was so very excited about that as a sub-30 minute parkrun has been a dream goal since 2013 and it felt so very far away at the beginning of 2016.

The most exciting thing though is my metabolic age.  I’ve lost a whole Kira!!  I have gone from 57 to 39 – I’m now 18 years (my daughter Kira’s age) younger on the inside.

Actually, more exciting is my attitude.  I now know that weight is just the headline figure; it’s what’s going on inside that’s more important.  For many, losing weight is usually just fluid and lean muscle tissue rather than specifically losing fat and building muscle which is more important and more healthy long-term.

Also I am not on a ‘diet’.  I am living a healthy and active lifestyle which I will continue forever.  I want to enjoy retirement with Ian; to be able to travel and experience so many things with him.  I can’t do that if I’m ill because of my weight, or depressed because of my weight.

I am so excited about my results that I have decided I would also like to help other people achieve their dream health and fitness goals.  So if anyone reading this knows anyone who might be interested in achieving similar results to me (they don’t have to be in the UK), please get in touch.

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After one of our free exercise sessions.  My top says, “Excuses don’t burn calories”

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An attempt to explain

A good friend said to me recently that when she read my last blog it made her want to cry.

I assumed she meant because I’d written that my dad had given me a rare compliment and I was pleased that I was making him proud, especially as he doesn’t share his feelings very often.  (That makes me cry – happy cry – when I think about it.)

But actually she was feeling sad because she had read it that my parents were not accepting me as I am – overweight or not – and putting pressure on me to lose weight.  So I thought I should explain a bit more in case others were thinking the same thing.

I am so blessed to have amazing parents who support me and encourage me and absolutely accept me for being me – whatever my weight and despite all the anxieties I must have put them through over the years.

My parents worry about me (comes with the parenting territory).  They could see that I was putting on weight and that I wasn’t happy about it.  They just want me to be happy.  Although they would probably still have concerns about my health if I was 30 stone, they wouldn’t love me any less and knowing I was happy would be the most important thing to them.

When I am overweight and I look in the mirror I don’t like what I see.  I realise few people are 100% happy with what they see but to me when I see myself overweight I see failure.  I have failed to control my eating; food has controlled me instead.  I have been weak and allowed myself to overeat – again.  I’m not aiming for the “perfect” body; just to be in control.  I realise there’s a thin line: maybe I’ll achieve the weight loss but won’t be happy with my flabby arms or my saggy boobs (gravity gets to us all eventually!).  Perhaps I’ll always be unhappy with something.  Perhaps I think losing weight will make me happy but it won’t.  Perhaps…. perhaps….

A part of me (a little part, but it has a very loud voice!) says well if that’s the case, why bother at all?  Why put myself through the deprivation twice a week?  Why even have a set of scales in the house?  And a slightly bigger part of me worries whether my efforts to lose weight and become healthier will have a negative impact on my youngest daughter who struggles with similar issues to myself.  Am I just putting all my hang-ups onto her?  I’d like to think I’m setting a good example – but will it have the reverse effect?

Being totally honest here – it would be much easier to give up.  I want to.  It would be much easier to eat without care or concern.  If I could only get rid of the guilt and the nagging voice (also very loud) that I’ve failed.  Yet again.  Failed at what?  Failed at being the person I want to be on the outside.  I’d like to think I’m already the person I want to be on the inside – honest, kind, reliable, faithful, hospitable, loving, and patient (well I probably need a bit more work on that last one!) – and who cares about what a person looks like?

The sad truth is that in this world, lots of people care what people look like.  Very overweight people can suffer terribly from bullying, rude/thoughtless comments and strange looks.  They are sometimes overlooked for jobs or dismissed as inadequate/unacceptable in other ways.

I’m not obese.  Right now, in fact, I’m “normal” weight.  Slightly to the high side of normal, but normal none-the-less.  Woohoo!  I should celebrate that success!  This week I got back down to my pre-Christmas weight.  Yay!  So no one (should) look at me and judge me.  It’s just me doing the judging.  I haven’t exercised in ages so although my weight is down (yay again!) I’m feeling flabbier around my middle and thinking it’s mostly muscle mass I’m losing rather than fat.  So when I do start exercising again the weight will go up instead of down and that could potentially cause another downwards spiral for me.

How to stop it?  How to stop the self-judging?  How to let it go?  Answers on a postcard please… (or blog comment!)


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Last Post Before Christmas (probably)

I thought I’d better get a quick post in before the Christmas break.

Life has been manic as I’ve just started a second part-time job which is good fun but eats into my free time.  The worst shift is on a Saturday morning when I have to get up at 5:15 in order to get to work for 6:45am.  It’s a 15-20 minute drive, depending on traffic.

I’m on checkouts in a supermarket and I’m enjoying it so far.  It never stops, just when you think there’s a lull, someone else starts unloading their shopping onto your conveyor belt.  I am loving the customer interaction though, talking about their Christmas plans.  One customer said she was going to have a quiet Christmas this year, with only 17 to cater for.  Apparently she usually has 45 people to feed!

So I can’t remember when I last shared my “stats” with you so here goes:

Inches at last measure (Thursday 27th November)

  • Bust 38.5″
  • Waist 35.5″
  • Hips 37.5″
  • L Thigh 21″
  • R Thigh 21″
  • L Arm 11.25″
  • R Arm 11.25″

Nice to be balanced for a change!  (My arms and legs are often half or even a whole inch different!)  I have lost a total of 17″ (I might have told you that last time).

Mind you I’m only partly balanced as I have also added in two new measurements – my calves – at the moment the left one is 16″ and the right one is 15″.  Weird, huh?  I hate my calves, they always seem so huge and dangly, out of proportion to the rest of me I sometimes think.  I can’t buy regular wellies (glad I noticed that auto-correct, I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what it changed to 😉 ) because they are too tight on my calves.  So I have to buy expanding ones or 3/4 height ones which is annoying.

I weighed myself on Thursday 11th December and I was 10 stone 7 pounds.  10 and a half stone!!!  That’s now 18lbs off since 19th May.  I can’t believe it and I was so pleased with myself.

Now, Christmas is coming (in case you hadn’t noticed).

I love Christmas.  I love Christmas food.  In particular the sweets and crisps and other snacks which are always in abundance at this time of year.  I have to find a way to indulge, but in moderation.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that moderation hasn’t been a particularly strong point for me over the years so somehow I have to do it this year or I’ll undo all my good work.

I expect to put on a few pounds, but I really hope it’s only 3 or 4 at the most.  I really, really don’t want to pop over the 11 stone barrier again.

I have re-jigged my fast days so I’m not fasting on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, but will try to still have two fast days in the week.  I have to keep my grip on my self-control so that food doesn’t wrest control from my grasp again.

One problem with being so busy is the lack of time to exercise.  I really need to get out and run as it’s been ages since I last ran and I can’t do Parkrun any more because of working on Saturdays.  The past two Thursdays have been taken up with training so I haven’t been able to go to my usual circuits class but I’m hoping to go this week.  Also I’ve been on mum’s taxi duties quite a bit so haven’t been able to get to Run Club either.  Next week for that hopefully!  And maybe a run or two?

Half the problem is I’m so tired when I get home that I can’t quite summon the energy but I do know that it will be worth it if I do.  It’s just convincing myself of that!  And sadly early mornings are no good as I’m up at 5:50 most mornings anyway; I’d have to get up before 5 to fit a run in then!

As I said earlier, I love Christmas.  As well as the food and snacks(!) I love the family time, giving presents to friends and family, seeing the children’s eyes light up when they see what we’ve got for them. I love planning what I’m going to get for people to make sure I’ve got them something special or meaningful for them.  I love hearing and singing along to the Christmas songs in the shops and on the radio.  I love decorating the house (see the top picture of our tree with Polly inspecting it) and seeing all the lovely lights on other people’s homes as we drive around.

For me, though, the most important thing about Christmas is the message which so often is forgotten in the busy lead-up to Christmas Day.  The message which, over time, has become buried under all the tinsel and Santa suits.  The Christian message which celebrates the birth of Jesus, God’s son.  Please feel free to ask me more in the comments, or have a look at http://www.alpha.org.

To close, I’d like to wish all my readers a very happy and laughter-filled Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2015.

See you all next year! 🙂


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Progress!

I wrote this on Friday 20th June:

“Well I have some exciting news to report.  I weighed myself yesterday morning and I am down to 11st 2lbs!  That is a 9lbs weight loss since I started the Fast Diet.  I was so pleased.  I have also lost some inches here and there.  I am going to try to insert a graph of my losses so far when I get home but that might be a bridge too far with my so far very basic blog-writing skills!”

Then on Wednesday 25th June I wrote this:

“Well it’s clear to all of you that I didn’t make time at the weekend.  This was because shortly after typing this I had to go home from work sick.  I had the worst cold I’ve had in years and it was miserable.  I can’t remember the last time I went home from work sick; in fact the only time I can remember having to do that was when I was 17 and working at Boots.  I actually had to sprint from my till point to the staff toilets to be sick that time.  This time I just felt well and truly grotty, coughing, sneezing and feeling quite weak.  Thankfully I’m nearly better now but I’ve felt miserable all weekend.”

Both times I was interrupted and then didn’t get another chance to carry on.  I could really do with a few more hours in each day.  I think an additional 6 hours to bring it up to a round 30-hour day would be good.  It could be 3 more hours for getting stuff done and 3 more hours in bed.  Anyone else agree with me?  Perhaps an extra day every weekend would be good too?

Umm, anyway, back in reality!  How am I going on the diet/eating plan?  Am I making progress?  Well you can see from the above that the scales are gradually moving down.  A bit too gradually for my liking but then if I didn’t eat quite so much on the non-fast days it would probably be quicker.  Plus I haven’t had time to exercise for ages.

When I weighed myself on Thursday (26th) I had lost another pound, bringing me to a grand total of 10lbs lost.  Yay!  All my inches are down too but I’m at work at the moment so I can’t look it up (it’s on my phone and I don’t think the students would be particularly impressed if I got my phone out when they’re not allowed to look at theirs!  I don’t think my Line Manager would look too kindly on it either…) but hopefully I’ll remember to make a note on paper later on so I can include the details for you later on.

I am finding the fast days hard but doable if that makes sense.  The worst times are between getting home from work and eating tea, and then it’s really hard between tea and bed.  The temptation is to cook and eat as soon as possible after getting home from work, but that then leaves a longer time before bed.  Unfortunately I can’t just have an early night as I need to get my daughters to go to bed (sadly if I just leave them, they won’t turn their lights out for hours and the youngest then won’t get up for school in the morning).  But I keep on reminding myself that I can eat tomorrow.

I am liking that my fast days are on Mondays and Wednesdays as that gets them over with at the beginning of the week and it feels like I have more time to eat what I want for the rest of the week.  I have to be careful though.  This weekend we went to see Avenue Q on Friday night and to save the exorbitant cost of sweets from the theatre, I bought some from the local shops.  I bought too many.  I ate too many.  Self-Control, where have you gone?  (Actually, if I’m totally honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever known Self-Control particularly well, especially when it comes to eating!)

We had a great weekend.  Firstly Avenue Q on the Friday night, which was excellent.  I’d seen it before with one of my best friends in London, but my husband and daughters had not.  Thankfully they all enjoyed it as much as I did, finding it very funny if a little rude.  Okay, a lot rude at times but still funny.  If you haven’t seen it I really recommend you do if it tours near you.  Maybe you think the puppets thing isn’t for you, but it’s so well done that you don’t really care that it’s puppets after the first few minutes.  And the actors work so cleverly with the puppets and sing brilliantly.  See it if you can (and if you’re not too easily offended).  It has a 14 years minimum recommended age limit by the way.

Saturday was my eldest daughter’s prom night.  Wow is all I can say; she looked stunning.  Okay, I know I’m her mum and I’m supposed to think she’s beautiful, but she really did look amazing.  It cost quite a lot of money of course (dress, shoes, bag, hair, nails, ticket, spending money, etc) but she keeps reminding me that others spent a lot more than we did so apparently that makes it okay.  Which it does really I guess.  It was worth it to see how happy she was and hear everyone say how lovely she is.  Thankfully we didn’t have to splash out for a car as her good friend’s parents own a wedding car hire company and they took her, her best friend, their son and his best friend to the prom in an open-top Cadillac.  What a fantastic evening.  One of the teachers said it was the best prom he has organised ever so that was nice to hear.

On Sunday we went to church and then came home and did some more work in the garden.  We got about a third of the deck oiled.  It looks really good.  I’m looking forward to the whole garden being finished but we are needing a bit of a capital injection at the moment.

What is really good about life at the moment is I’ve been able to have a few quality times just me and each of my daughters on their own.  I had a few hours’ shopping with my youngest daughter, followed by a quiet evening meal at home watching TV together.  And I went shopping with my eldest to get her last-minute prom essentials as well.  It’s really lovely to spend time with them and I wish we could do it more often.  Back to needing more hours in the day!

Today is an eating day but I’m feeling quite hungry.  I didn’t have time for much breakfast before I left this morning (bad I know, most important meal of the day and all that) and my lunch is in the fridge at work and I couldn’t be bothered to get it out for a break time snack.  I keep reminding myself that according to the 5:2 ideas fasting between meals is better than lots of small snacks.  And I’ll certainly enjoy my lunch when I eventually eat it!

It’s after lunch now.  And I did enjoy it, even if it was a bit rushed with only 20 minutes to eat it in!  Mind you, having a limited amount of time is good in a way because I didn’t have time to eat everything I had with me so that’s fewer calories consumed, which means fewer inches/lbs the next time I measure myself!

It’s Wednesday 2nd July now and am going to finish this blog post after I’ve weighed in tomorrow, I promise!  It’s taken me aaaggggeeeeessss.  It’s easy for me to type when I’m in a nicely behaved class, where they’re getting on with their work and as I’m quite a fast typist I can get quite a lot done in between going around and checking that they are actually working and presenting the next lot of work to them.  That theory breaks down when a class is trouble, or needing a lot of help and I’m up and down the whole time with no time to just sit and type.

Another fast day today.  I was out of bananas this morning so I had a smoothie with low-fat natural yoghurt, strawberries, a nectarine and a kiwi fruit.  It was quite tasty but not quite as good as the banana/strawberry one.  I would have liked to have added a little sugar but I resisted!

I’m kind of dreading weighing in tomorrow morning because I feel I’ve over done it a bit over the past week and so will the scales be heading in the wrong direction?  I really hope not.  It’s so hard though.  I would be really interested in hearing from people where/how they’ve found the motivation and self-control to eat sensibly.  If you’ve never had a problem with overeating, you’ll probably not be able to understand how it feels, but I would love to hear from a former overeater.  I know that the “aha” moment, when it all suddenly clicks into place and you find that motivation is different for everyone, but to be honest I’m desperate and hope that hearing other people’s experiences will help me to believe it is possible, and maybe inspire me to find my personal motivation.

Okay, it’s Thursday 3rd July now and I weighed myself this morning and I’m 11 stone! That makes a grand total of 11lbs lost over the 7 weeks since I started the 5:2 Fast Diet Plan. I measured myself as well and have lost a total of 11″ as well. So it’s all about the number 11 today!!

I’m so pleased with myself. I really worried that I would have either stayed the same, or worse, put on. It makes me feel really positive that I can still lose on this diet even when I’m not being as controlled as I could be on my eating days. How much more progress could I make if I was exercising and not going quite so over-the-top in between fast days??

I’m going to sign off here or this will never get finished.  I hope I’ll hear from a few people sharing their experiences.  Pretty please??!

Table showing my weight/inches loss.  I tried to cut and paste the graph but it wouldn’t paste for some reason.  I also couldn’t work out how to type under the table!  I’ll get the hang of it eventually I expect…

Date 19/05/2014 27/05/2014 03/06/2014 10/06/2014 19/06/2014 26/06/2014 03/07/2014
Weight 165 161 161 160 156 155 154
Bust 42.5 42 41 42 40 40 40
Waist 40 38 39 38 38 38 37
Hips 40 39 39 39 38.5 38.5 38
L thigh 23 22.5 22.25 22.5 22 22 22
R thigh 24 22.5 22.25 22.5 22.5 22.5 22
L arm 12 12 11.5 11.5 11.5 11.5 11.5
R arm 12 12 12 12 11.5 11.5 11.5


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Need to talk…

I am struggling this evening.  I’m really tired and the girls are being typical stroppy teenagers.  I want to sleep and I want to eat.  I have already eaten several stale cookies my eldest made with her boyfriend a couple of weekends ago (they were very tasty) and half a left-over Easter egg.

I thought I’d better start writing on here to distract me from eating the rest of the egg and anything else I can find in the kitchen.  Off the top of my head, that would be: salted cashews, a banana or two, a bag or two (or three) of the not-very-tasty Weight Watchers crisps, a yoghurt, a WW mini chocolate roll or two, and, and, and.  Some healthy, some not so – all unnecessary!

(As an aside, I was introduced to the WW mini chocolate rolls by a colleague of mine and she’s right – they are tastier than the “real thing”!)

I’ve got a whole host of jobs which need doing at home: we’re in the middle of re-landscaping our garden so there’re many tasks relating to that including weeding, digging, clearing ground, re-planting, planting seeds in seed trays, etc; I have a(n?) humungous box full of stuff which needs to be photographed and listed on eBay; I have about 6 boxes full of stuff which we were going to “car boot” but have decided for the £70 (if we’re lucky) we’d be likely to get it’s not worth the time and hassle so I need to get them into the car ready to deliver to a charity shop this week.  All the beds need to be changed.  The filing cabinet needs to be sorted and the old documents shredded.  You get the picture.

All I actually want to do is veg in front of the TV, or go to bed.  Or both – except we don’t have a TV in our room!

Then the guilt starts.  My lovely hubby says it’s good I have a rest as I deserve it.  I just think of the things I should be doing but can’t quite muster up the energy for and then I feel guilty.  Guilt makes me feel low.  Feeling low makes me want to eat.  Eating makes me feel guilty.  Guilt makes me feel lower and on it goes in an ever downward spiral.

The idea of writing this blog and doing the 5:2 Fast Diet is to help me to snap out of the spiral.  Can anyone else relate to this?  Or am I as odd as I suspect?  What do you do to help you snap out of it?  If you have managed to win in your battle against food (this is all assuming I’m not the only one), what was it that finally motivated you to keep going and beat it?